It’s a cosmic alignment as the CHRIS ROBINSON BROTHERHOOD is ready for the BIG MOON RITUAL, out tomorrow, Tuesday, June 5, when the band performs the album’s “Rosalee” on NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” And, coincidentally, there will be a full moon the night before.
In a June 2012 Guitar Player review, Matt Blackett said the band has “created a roots-o-licious collection of tunes…It has beautiful guitar tones, inventive parts, gorgeous solos, and killer vocals all around.” And Relix called the album “so damn funky” and said “It’s a record informed by the road: vast seas of soulful jamming and Robinson’s free-flowing vocals come together now and then for a blowout chorus (June 2012).”
In what CHRIS ROBINSON calls a musical “take on a peyote ceremony,” the album arrives amidst a long run of tour dates, both with the BROTHERHOOD (June 14 to August 26) and as part of a trio along with Bob Weir and Jackie Greene (through June 4).
After a 118-show 2011 tour, the CHRIS ROBINSON BROTHERHOOD went in to the studio to record two albums to be released via Silver Arrow/Megaforce Records: BIG MOON RITUAL and THE MAGIC DOOR, due in September. Both albums were produced by Thom Monahan (Vetiver, Devendra Banhart, Papercuts). In an interview with Rollingstone.com, ROBINSON said that a few weeks into the tour, they knew they were onto something and when they became a band: “Just a few weeks into the California residency last year…We did 13,500 miles…I think a couple of weeks into that, we started to let the cosmic vibes flow through us and we realized, ‘Oh, wow, this is something that feels really good.’ When I think about the real pioneers of the psychedelic movement in a musical sense, not just the culture, everything had a handmade sort of vibe to it. We’re inventing our culture as we move along into this (5/30/12).” Check out the full interview and the group’s interpretation of the Sonny James’ version of “Bright Lights, Big City” here.
In 2011, after more than 20 years of intense gigging and recording, CHRIS ROBINSON set off to shape something new, a fresh rock mythology, a breathing kaleidoscopic thing stuffed with chooglin’ soul, bedrock boogie and shuffling wisdom birthed in intimate clubs and amongst the tall trees of the Golden State and eventually taken nationwide as the CHRIS ROBINSON BROTHERHOOD evolved. What began as an experiment without expectations turned into a 118-show journey for Robinson (lead vocals, guitar), Neal Casal (guitar, vocals), Adam MacDougall (keys, vocals), George Sluppick (drums) and Mark Dutton (bass, vocals) that surprised these seasoned pros as music of unshakeable solidity and exuberant reach poured out of them, a New Cosmic California sound with tendrils reaching to the original Fillmore West, Topanga Canyon and outwards towards far horizons.
“This music is unashamedly what we’re into,” says ROBINSON, who cites Neu!, Melanie, Flatt & Scruggs, Mel Tillis and Morton Subotnick as regulars in their van listening. “It’s not a psych band because you have a Prince Valiant haircut and wear Beatle boots. It’s psych because that’s where our heads are. We want to make music that blossoms. We want to make music that sounds cosmic.”